Weekly COVID-19 supply chain bulletin: 25 March 2022

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Weekly COVID-19 supply chain bulletin

25 March 2022

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Welcome to the merged National Advisory Group (NAG) and SOPO (Society of Procurement Officers in Local Government) e-bulletin. Feel free to forward this email to your colleagues and / or suggest they sign up to receive it themselves. This e-bulletin is now delivered through our corporate service which handles all of our e-bulletins and through which you can create or manage your subscriptions and read previous editions of this e-bulletin

COVID-19 stories

COVID-19 – business grants

The Department for Business, Energy and Industry Strategy (BEIS) has updated figures for the distribution of the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant (OHLG) and the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG). They show that £305 million (48 per cent) of the total £635 million OHLG has been distributed to businesses. For the ARG, councils have paid out £1.895 billion (89 per cent) of their £2.130 billion allocation. Both schemes close at the end of March and any amount unclaimed or unspent could be reclaimed by BEIS.

Non-COVID stories

Lawyers in Local Government (LLG) guidance for local authorities reviewing contracts with Russian state-linked suppliers

Councils are advised to weigh up the factors outlined in Lawyers in Local Government's (LLG's) guidance for local authorities reviewing contracts with Rusddian state-linked suppliers carefully prior to taking any termination action. LLG hopes that this briefing provides some useful pointers for councils and their lawyers who find themselves in this position. Where the ability to terminate is not clear and / or the contract is high value, LLG would encourage councils to consider taking a second opinion from external lawyers with specialism in this particular field.

The LGA continues to work closely with councils with Gazprom contracts and we have another meeting scheduled at 12pm on Monday 28 March to discuss updates. If your council has not received an invitation to the meeting and you wish to attend please email guy.head@local.gov.uk

The Cabinet Office is due to publish a Procurement Policy Note (PPN 01/22), but at the time of publication this was not yet in the public domain. We will disseminate this, through the Heads of Procurement Network, when it goes live.

Finally, we would like to reiterate that we strongly advise you to speak to your own legal teams before you make any decisions on these matters.

School transport contract costs

The County Councils Network (CCN) has said county councils are reporting that companies which provide school transport services are re-tendering contracts up to 20 per cent more expensive than last year, due to rising fuel costs. It said county councils face having to pay the higher rates or potentially seeing thousands of pupils, including those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), unable to access free school transport. CCN wants Government to provide further targeted financial support for councils to get them and transport providers through this uncertain period and give families the peace of mind that their children’s school transport will continue to run as normal.

Electric vehicle infrastructure strategy

The Department for Transport (DfT) will provide councils with £500 million to invest in installing electric vehicle public charging points. Its Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy, published today (25 March), aims to increase the number of public charging points in the UK from 30,000 to 300,000 by 2030. This funding is a significant boost to ongoing local efforts to support the transition to electric vehicles.

Social care workforce

The LGA – alongside other social care sector leaders including the Care Provider Alliance and Skills for Care – has published a position paper on the adult social care reform agenda, calling on the Government to deliver a long-term care workforce strategy and tackle the issue of care worker pay. While supportive of the positive workforce developments in the Government’s adult social care white paper, the coalition warns they do not amount to a proper long-term workforce strategy. The organisations are united in the offer to support government with the development and delivery of a workforce strategy, including ensuring coproduction with people with lived experience.

HMRC urges businesses to get ready to move to customs IT platform

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has written to VAT-registered businesses in Great Britain trading with the EU, or the EU and the rest of the world to explain what businesses need to do to comply with the new rules and processes for moving goods between Great Britain and the EU, including:

  • making sure they have a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number
  • ensuring they are ready to make customs declarations
  • checking if their goods are eligible for the preferential zero duty rates
  • preparing for the end of staged import controls.

Councils are encouraged to share this information with businesses in their area.


Moving from multiple suppliers to a single supplier

Wednesday 30 March, 1pm–2pm

The Strategic Central Bureau Platform (SCBP) contract is a key Home Office contract. This platform provides the infrastructure for immigration officers to take fingerprints and acts as part of the Home Office biometrics programme. Following the end of SCBP’s existing contracts, a two-year procurement was run, which culminated in one new supplier taking over the services delivered by two incumbent suppliers. When did two become one? This session will examine how an organisation can move from multiple suppliers to a single supplier, while elaborating on how effective contract terms can be applied in this kind of procurement process.

Engage the Future: Community and Collaboration

Thursday 31 March, 11.30am1.30pm

LHC is a provider of free-to-use framework agreements used by local authorities and they would like to invite LGA members to LHC London & South East’s Engage the Future: Community and Collaboration webinar.

Join the LHC team for a unique learning experience and an exclusive premier of a short film by We Rise Brixton, an award-winning community business with a mission to empower young people to create successful futures.

They’ll be coming together with specialist industry speakers to discuss how focusing on social value and community impact through collaboration and engagement has powerful effects on our work practices, design, and productivity in the public sector.

Relational commissioning – harnessing the power of purpose alignment

Thursday 31 March, 2pm–3.30pm

E3M are pleased to invite you to the fourth webinar in the series linked to the E3M 'Procurement to Partnership' toolkit. This free webinar is aimed at commissioners from local public authorities, as well as leaders of social enterprises and other public benefit organisations, who want to explore new and more impactful ways of organising public services. With case studies from Plymouth and Croydon, the event will explore how local public authorities can work in partnership with social enterprises and the broader social economy to improve and develop local services through a relational approach to commissioning services.

Market engagement and determining the business need

Wednesday 6 April, 1pm–2pm

The objective of 'skills bootcamps' such as this is to offer people training in the skills that employers are looking for. By upskilling trainees, 'skills bootcamps' serve to fill vacancies and offer employment. How does an organisation take part in market engagement which calls for defining the business needs of the entire labour market? This session delves into details of an unconventional pre-procurement process, explores the power of stakeholder feedback groups, and offers insights for those seeking to procure bespoke services.

Local Government Procurement Expo (LGPE)

Thursday 21 April, 9am–5pm | In person at Novotel London West (Hammersmith), One Shortlands, London W6 8DR, partly streamed online

The Local Government Procurement Expo (LGPE) 2022 will take place in an innovative hybrid format – live at the Novotel Hammersmith with some elements streamed online. This event brings the local government community together with the UK’s top suppliers. For our members who have still to attend their first LGPE, we encourage you to get involved. The expo offers a fulfilling day of personal procurement training and, by attending, you will find out more about the key issues that affect all of us who work within local government in the UK.

National Social Value Conference

27–28 April, 9am–5pm | Online, and at Church House, 31 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BN

The 5th annual National Social Value Conference will bring together social value experts and practitioners from a variety of sectors and industries across the UK. This year’s event marks the 10-year anniversary of the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012. And as we dive into ‘the social value decade’, you’ll hear from experts in the public, private and third sectors on the successes so far – and the challenges that lie ahead.

Greenhouse Gas Accounting Tool updates and scope 3 emissions webinar

Thursday 28 April 2022, 10am–11.30am

The Greenhouse Gas Accounting Tool has proven popular with local authorities for their emissions reporting since its launch in 2020. With feedback from users, it has undergone further development ahead of the new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) conversion factors being released in June 2022. This webinar will discuss the improvements and changes to the tool, as well as providing guidance on Scope 3 emissions reporting.


The LGA Procurement team manages several LGA webpages dedicated to your needs. Please email guy.head@local.gov.uk if you would like any information added to our webpages: